Want a higher paid job in tech? Learn AI skills, says AWS

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An insatiable demand for AI skills means some employers are willing to pay a 31% premium for IT workers with relevant expertise, according to new research from AWS and Access Partnership. 

The findings of a recent survey show that, across the board, firms are willing to pay lofty salaries for staff with AI skills, with staff in research and development also commanding a 30% premium.

Employers revealed they’d also pay 27% higher salaries for those with AI skills in sales, marketing, and finance.

Business operations, legal, and human resources all came in slightly lower, but could still all secure AI-savvy workers salary jumps of 26%, 25%, and 24% respectively.

The findings of the survey point toward both the growing demand for AI skills, as well as the acute shortage of workers with relevant expertise, which industry stakeholders have warned could negatively impact innovation in coming years.

Alwin Magimay, global head of AI at PA Consulting, told ITPro that AI expertise will remain a highly sought after skill set moving forward, with organizations across a raft of industries seeking to capitalize on the generative AI ‘boom’.

“It is likely that the most advanced AI expertise will remain highly valued, while demand for more intermediary skills may depend more on the overall economic climate and rate of adoption of AI," he said.

Magimay noted, however, that this period of lofty salary increases for AI-savvy workers will eventually peter out.

“There is certainly a believable scenario where the current premium pay for AI talent proves fleeting”, he added.

While there’s no guarantee that these premiums will last, the appetite among workers to develop AI skills certainly appears to be rising.

Of all the employees surveyed, 70% said they intended to learn AI skills to “enhance work efficiency, boost career opportunities, and increase salaries”.

New entrants to the workforce and younger workers were among the most keen to embrace the technology, the survey found.

Younger employees (18-44 year olds) showed a clear and definite interest in learning AI skills, with over three-quarters of them drawn to the area by motivations of higher salaries and increased job security.

Over half of older workers (45-74 year olds) also expressed a desire to learn AI skills in the interest of efficiency.

Concerns raised that AI skills gap could grow

Despite evident enthusiasm for AI skills, only 50% of surveyed employers indicated that they were in a position to provide AI training, which raises questions about the ability of organizations to fully maximize their AI capabilities in the coming years. 

According to research by Salesforce in March 2023, only 1 in 10 workers globally consider themselves to have AI skills and, with businesses often ill-equipped to upskill, there are concerns that a deficit of AI talent could become more acute.

“Companies must prioritize investing in the skill development of their workforce, particularly engineers”, Chetna Mahajan, Chief Digital & Information Officer (CDIO) at Amplitude, told ITPro.


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“This investment is crucial for fostering AI literacy and expertise, ensuring AI's responsible and effective utilization”, she added.

With 85% of employers predicting their companies to be AI-driven by 2028 and 90% of employees anticipating integrating AI into their workloads across that period, AI-skills are going to be vital in employment prospects, according to Jamal Elmellas, COO at recruitment consultancy Focus-on-Security.

“Working with AI will become as inherent to our daily lives as working alongside the internet is today,” he said.

“But whereas that technology gradually evolved, and our skill sets with it, generative AI has been a big bang moment," Elmellas added.

“AI will see workloads contract, so individuals will take on work that would have been done by multiple people, but it also spawn a whole new range of roles going forward”.

George Fitzmaurice
Staff Writer

George Fitzmaurice is a staff writer at ITPro, ChannelPro, and CloudPro, with a particular interest in AI regulation, data legislation, and market development. After graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in English Language and Literature, he undertook an internship at the New Statesman before starting at ITPro. Outside of the office, George is both an aspiring musician and an avid reader.